So I’ve just reached over 3,500 total views on this wee little blog of mine and I’d like to first of all thank everyone who has visited, whether infrequently or regularly, you all make me intellectually satisfied in the knowledge that my inane ramblings, while as coherent as I can make them, are actually interesting for some of you. I never imagined when I started this blog back in June 2008 that I would have received anywhere close to this number of views. Mind you, I would love to see a hell of a lot more comments on my blog and get a bit of discussion going on, but beggars would be hard pushed if they tried to be choosers. Secondly, and I think maybe more importantly, I’d like to ramble on inanely about where the blog came from and how I see myself progressing through the various posts.
Back in June ’08 I was living in Germany for half a year and I was only then really becoming in touch with my atheistic side. I had many years beforehand renounced my previous affiliation to the Protestant faith, my 18th birthday present to my self being a crossbuster, which is essentially a cross with a big red circle around it with a line through it essentially saying “No, Bad Religion!” (poignantly so, it was in fact near identical to the logo of the punk rock band, Bad Religion) My other birthday present to myself (hey it was a landmark year, alright!?) was to burn my childhood bible. It gave out a surprising amount of warmth, probably because of all the faecal matter present within its pages and it marked a ceremony of sorts that I yearn to repeat at upcoming annual celebrations. Since that time I’ve unfortunately forgotten to do it until days later when it lacks the poignancy.
Moving along, I had only really listened to bands like Slayer and others and deepened my dislike and distrust of organised religion through relevant music and some light internet discussion as I began college. As I approached my 3rd year in college, and left a rather large personal mess behind me, I found myself actually wrestling properly and intellectually with the underpinnings of my lack of faith. I remember vaguely one summer between grades/years in high/secondary school reading through the bible and just being dumbstruck by what I had read. Compounded by the comments and skeptical attitude of a good friend of mine this slowly unfurled into a theism-killer. I guess you could say it nestled around my heart at that point, and only in the last two years or so has it migrated towards my head as I moved from an emotive response to a rational and intellectual response to the frankly batshit-crazy assertions contained both within the bible and espoused by its adherents.
Living in Germany I brought a rather important book with me, and I mention it not because it’s a common “bible” of sorts within the non-theistic community, but I mention it because it indeed helped me focus my rational arguments against and understanding of theistic beliefs and positions. I remember being faced with German Jehovah’s Witnesses at my door and flailing to describe in German just how abhorrent I found the bible and the stories within it, yet in my mind those ideas were near fully fledged in my native language. I luckily got a chance to redeem myself in early 2010 whilst odd jobbing for my mother during a trip back home. Having been asleep when they called around in the morning, to be greeted by my reiki practising mother who believes in guardian angels and her rather outspoken friend who challenges everyone and anyone she meets on any kind of bullshit they may be trying to pull. Upon waking I received word of the visit and the rather forthright way in which my mother’s friend (for lack of a better phrase) tore them a new one. Hoping to get an opportunity of my own with them I went outside to odd job in the form of painting the front gate. Not much later when they had swung around the estate and came back I cheekily asked them if they had been there in the morning and I apologised for my “aunt” and her forthright behaviour. At this point their instincts to try and make a sale kicked in and I found myself listening intently for the first third of the conversation, then slowly becoming more questioning and probing before finally ending up at a point where I delivered a line I’m rather proud of to this day. When asked, something to the effect of, “is God not a good force or a good thing to believe in? Surely we need to believe in something…?” To which I responded, “Well, if God does exist and he is anything at all like he is described in the Bible, I would rather spit in his face and spend eternity in hell than waste my life worshipping a megalomaniacal bastard like him.”
At this point, the rather stunned guy said something along the lines of “Well, you seem to have made your mind up, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree” and he then proceeded to beat a hasty retreat to his car, among the other 15 cars that had invaded our estate. I was shocked and appalled to see children as young as 6 and 7 wandering around with these people, apparently “sharing the Good News.” One other rather classic moment was when he tried to speak to my obviously scientific bent and illustrate an argument that the Bible had knowledge of the roundness of the Earth before science did by using a Bible quote, the one that mentions “the circle of the Earth.” He fumbled to find this passage in his Handy-Bible and when I gave him the quote he was looking for he seemed shocked and taken aback. He said “wow, you seem to know the Bible very well for someone who doesn’t believe it,” to which I simply replied “reading it was what convinced me not to believe it.”
Anyway, I’m straying from the rather tenuous point I may have established earlier, at some time or another. Living in Germany, I was rather isolated when I wasn’t working and so my time was spent playing guitar, gaming and reading, both online and offline. In my reading I had brought with me the book I alluded to (and conveniently forgot about) earlier, “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. As I said it’s become kind of a common point for people either already in the non-theist community or new-found atheists/agnostic/humanists and it’s pretty much required reading for any good skeptic non-believer as Dawkins deals rather nicely with a lot of common arguments one finds in favour of theism (that don’t really hold much, if any, water) In addition to this I also became acquainted with the wonderful people at the RichardDawkins.net Forum. For the ensuing 8 to 9 month period thereafter, beginning around July, I would say about 60-75% of my internet time was spent in that forum, talking, discussing and debating with the various members and the drive-by trolls. I managed a not-unimpressive 1,123 posts between July ’08 and Feb ’10. These interactions further developed both my arguments around the area of religion and non-belief and my ability to articulate those arguments. If one looks back in time to my first slew of posts it’s acutely obvious that my writing had not fully matured, which is understandable given that I was spending a lot of time arguing on an internet forum where, despite the high intellect of most of the members, grammar, punctuation and spelling were not always the highest priority. (In general, of course, quite the opposite is generally true of internet forums) There was a distinct community within the forum and I remain friends with many of those people to this day on facebook etc… after the implosion of the standard forum on RD.net.
From my time on the forum though, I noticed that a lot of people had their own spaces on the internet called blogs that they used as places where they could write their thoughts and/or theses and not be actively harangued by trolls and spammers and other mischievous forum-dwellers and so I decided I’d try one out myself. I had gotten into the habit of writing out and saving some of my lengthier forum posts to ruminate on them a little so it seemed like a natural progression.
One thing has not really changed since I started this blog 30 months and that is the way I get ideas for blog posts. The method has evolved a little but it’s really just a case of waiting for inspiration to hit me, whether through stories I read online, to personal anecdotal experiences to things I hear and/or see around me, if it sparks an interest in me, I’ll generally write some form of a draft here and ruminate and cogitate on it for a while before whipping up something vaguely resembling “interesting” and serving it up to my ever-discerning public. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t really get that many comments. Out of 75 posts, I’ve received only 55 comments and 18 of those are my own responses, so that’s a ratio of 75 to 37 comments, approximately 2:1. With a ratio that low it’s hard for me to tell just how interesting and/or useful or provocative or original my posts are. (Just in case you weren’t sure, those are the things I’m aiming for my blog to be) I guess, however, that that will come in time. For the moment I get an average of 10 views per day which is pretty heart-warming given I generally only post an average of once per week. Granted, they tend to bunch up into swarms of posts with large gaps in between but even when those gaps are there I still have regular visitors, so I’m extremely glad for that.
To all of you who have made it this far, I urge you, when you have the time and the inclination, head back to Page 5 of the blog (applicable only until the post count drives the pages back) and have a quick read through some of my earlier stuff. This was a much, much wider gap in time between most of the posts due to laziness and sheer forgetfulness but some of them are worth reading. The ones that aren’t serve as testament to how far this blog has come since then.
Once again thank you to all of you who have been with me on this continuing journey for however long you were and I look forward to seeing you again soon (I have some interesting topics coming up!)